11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (2024)

From snickerdoodles and shortbread to oatmeal and peanut butter, the world of cookies is vast. But none sets the heart racing quite like the chocolate chip. It’s a classic for a reason.

Of course, everyone has their own niche preference. Some crave crunchy, while others lean chewy. And sweetness is a continuum unto itself. The one sure thing: We know a great chocolate chip cookie when we taste it.

Here’s a guide to some of the best in the Bay Area. (Did we miss your favorite? Tell us about it via the submission form at the end.)

East Bay Bakery, Danville and farmers markets in Danville, Walnut Creek, Orinda

It’s not surprising that some of the East Bay suburbs’ chewiest, most chocolaty chocolate chip cookies come from chef Gaby Lubaba. Her small but popular bakery in a strip mall near Blackhawk has wowed locals and food critics with its unique spins on baked goods, including signature croffles and treats inspired by Lubaba’s native Indonesia.

Generally, the selection at the bakery is wide-ranging. But when it comes to cookies, Lubaba usually sticks to one flavor – chocolate chip – and focuses on doing it really, really well. We were warned that the cookies, baked fresh every morning, can sell out by noon. Fortunately, you don’t need to drive all the way out to Blackhawk to get the cookies. East Bay Bakery also operates stands at weekend farmers markets in downtown Danville, Walnut Creek and Orinda.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (1)

The cookie: As one friend announced on first bite, “This is a substantial cookie.” The cookies ($4 each) are large, and their beautifully balanced brown-butter dough is loaded with slabs of chocolate, instead of mere chips. It’s almost as if the cookies contain rich chocolate deposits — a Mother Lode of chocolate — which may spill out when you bite in, so keep a napkin handy.

Details: The Danville shop is open from 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesday-Friday and 9 a.m.-2 p.m. on weekends at 9000C Crow Canyon Road. Find the bakery stall at the Orinda and Danville farmers markets from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays and at the downtown Walnut Creek farmers market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Sundays. https://eastbaybakery.squarespace.com

Choc Cookies, Santa Clara

It’s a good thing Choc’s website gives the bakery’s location as “in an alley behind a gas station.” You’d never find it otherwise. But it’s definitely worth the effort to find this hidden gem, which serves up some of the tastiest — and certainly biggest cookies — in the South Bay.

Each cookie clocks in at just over 5 ounces, which the Choc folks point out is roughly the size of four “normal cookies.” That makes them big enough to split with a friend — or two friends. No wonder Choc has become so popular with college students. (The late-night hours certainly don’t hurt either.)

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (2)

The only caveat: Cookies are only sold by the foursome ($14.90-$16.90), so you’d better really, really like cookies.

The cookie: One giant chocolate chip cookie, with its crisp baked surface and warm, gooey interior, and you won’t even want to think about dinner. The chocolate chip is the star of the cookie menu here, which also typically includes cookies and cream, triple chocolate and ube crinkle.

Details: Open for pick-up/delivery from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Monday-Thursday and until 11 p.m. Friday-Saturday at 1614 Pomeroy Ave. in Santa Clara; choccookies.com.

La Noisette Sweets, Kensington and Berkeley

Growing up in Morocco, Alain Shocron would see his mother’s chocolate mousse cooling in the kitchen and – as little kids are wont to do – dip his finger in for a lick. That deep, unforgettable chocolatey taste led Chocron down a rabbit hole of baking and, after a long career as a hairstylist, he finally indulged his passion by opening a pastry shop in Berkeley.

La Noisette Sweets’ headquarters is only open two days a week, but on Sundays you’ll find Shocron holding court in a prominent spot at the Kensington Farmers Market, a charming East Bay bazaar with vivid vegetables, fresh seafood and live jazz. Jars of his mother’s super-rich mousse are on display, as are buttery croissants, galettes gianduja, creamy mille feuille and a compact but star-studded roster of chocolate-chip cookies.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (3)

The cookie: None of the chef patissier’s cookies are overly sugared, instead relying on quality chocolate and a well-measured hit of salt to deliver the flavor. The chocolate chip is an excellent version of the classic, soft and chewy with imported Valrhona chocolate and vanilla-smoked Maldon salt ($5). But if it’s chocolate you’re really after – CHOCOLATE with all-caps – then go for the triple-chocolate cookie with intensely flavored Valrhona P125, which Shocron grinds into a fine powder, as well as milk chocolate, opalys (white-chocolate chips) and a snowfall of cocoa dust on top. That’s actually four kinds of chocolate, and it’s all gluten-free, if you want to make the argument that any of this is remotely healthy for you.

Details: Open from 7 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Wednesday and 8 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Saturday at 2701 Eighth St., Suite 116 in Berkeley and from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at the Kensington Farmers Market at 379-389 Colusa Ave., Kensington; lanoisettesweets.com.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (4)

Icing on the Cake, Los Gatos

“We are chip happy,” bakery founder Lynn Magnoli says of the Icing on the Cake crew and clientele. Not only are there several varieties of chocolate chip cookies, but chocolate chips are also worked into pound cakes, brownies and banana cakes at this wildly popular shop that’s been open nearly four decades, since 1985.

But we’re here for the cookies ($3.75 to $4.25), and customer demand has resulted in lots of choices. These big, satisfying cookies are all made with real butter (except the vegan Top Notch) and semisweet chips. There’s the classic, the Studly Do Right (with walnuts and sea salt), the Oatmeal Chocolate Chip, the Dee-Luxe (semisweet and white chips, walnuts, coconut), the Chocolate Cherry Chunk (with brandy-soaked cherries), the Triple Chocolate, plus nutty, vegan and other options. You can also purchase logs of dough to bake at home and Eggless Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough shots.

After 39 years of running the shop and developing recipes, Magnoli has just sold the business — and recipes — to former employee Maggie Raye, who vows not to take anyone’s favorite out of the bakery case.

The cookie: There’s no single base recipe, which means you may be tasting many to find the texture you desire. They had us at “brandy-soaked cherries,” but the Hippie Chip, a dairy-free, flour-less cookie made with almond butter, eggs and honey, was a delightfully chewy discovery. Loved the sliced almonds in that one.

Details: Open from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday at 50 W. Main St., Los Gatos, with phone orders (408-354.2464) accepted starting at 8 a.m. www.icingonthecakebakery.com

Doh!, Lafayette

If you want to taste any of Sonya Ginsburg’s delectable Doh! cookies, you’ll have to plan ahead. Order your treats at least 24 hours in advance — and by the boxful — then pick up your freshly-baked batch in downtown Lafayette. Ginsburg’s cookies are worth that extra effort. And she sells the dough too, in case you want to bake them at home for that warm-out-of-the-oven experience.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (5)

Ginsburg didn’t start out as a professional baker. She left a 20-year career in project management to go to culinary school at Diablo Valley College and found she had a knack for creating unique variations on the drop-cookie template. A generous dusting of Maldon salt flakes, for example, gives her chewy chocolate chip cookies a nice balance of salty and sweet.

The cookies: Other cookies that wowed us include her stellar peanut butter chocolate chip; a Chai Latte cookie studded with white chocolate chips and rolled in sugared chai powder; the Cafe Latte, filled with white and semi-sweet chocolate chips and espresso powder; and the Caramel Pecan Pie, loaded with salted caramel chips and candied pecans. Boxes of 13 or more cookies start at $30.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (6)

Details: Doh! offers curbside pickups on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Fridays at 271 Lafayette Circle, Lafayette. Order at https://cookiedohpro.com/, then arrange an exact pickup time via email.

Little Sky Bakery, Menlo Park, Los Altos and assorted farmers markets

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (7)

This farmers market darling wows with its giant chocolate chip cookies, which come with and without nuts (we tried both, obviously). The giant cookies on offer, which included a tempting dark chocolate with dried cherries option at the Menlo Park bakery’s outdoor stand, are so hefty, two of them threatened to rip right through their paper bag.

The cookie: Go for the nutty version ($6), and you’ll be blown away. Not only does this cookie contain walnuts and pecans, it has dried apricot bits mixed in among the large, melty dark chocolate chunks. Besides, dried fruit makes this healthy, right?

Details: Open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. daily at 506 Santa Cruz Ave. in Menlo Park and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at 170 State St. in Los Altos; littleskybakery.com.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (8)

Sideboard, Danville and Lafayette

Over the years, Sideboard has become a town hot spot, where residents flock for high-quality, rustic, comfort food. But those long lines aren’t comprised just of fans ordering breakfast, lunch or dinner fare. There’s the bakery lineup, too. Sideboard’s scrumptious muffins, scones and other baked goods are made, like everything else on the menu, from scratch.

Sideboard is especially known for its really, really good chocolate chip cookies – reminiscent of the cookies your grandmother might have had cooling on the kitchen counter when you arrived. Enjoy those cookies as dessert ($3.65 each) after tucking into a hearty lunch of fried chicken, mac and cheese or a Thai chicken salad. But they’re also a yummy afternoon treat with a latte or tea.

The cookie: Erin Andrews, Sideboard’s chef and owner, said she’s a fan of chewy cookies, so that’s what her chefs bake fresh every day: large, golden cookies, with crinkly, crispy tops and loaded with chips. In one of the few times Andrew uses anything but locally-sourced ingredients, she said the chips come from a French chocolate maker.

Details: Sideboard is open from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at 90 Railroad Ave. in Danville and 3535 Plaza Way in Lafayette; https://www.sideboard.co.

Butter Pecan Bakeshop, Pleasant Hill, Emeryville and Pinole

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (9)

Is there any combo better than warm cookies straight from the oven and a cold glass of milk? You’ll find both at Butter Pecan Bakeshop, a newcomer that draws lines out the door for its unapologetically sweet cookies in flavors like Dark Chocolate Sea Salt and Chunky Monkey (chocolate chips, walnut, fresh banana).

Wendell Hunter, a Cal Bear who played briefly in the NFL, wandered into the baking world during the pandemic. Now he has three Butter Pecan Bakeshops and a fourth coming later this year to Fairfield.

“I used my grandma’s nut-cake recipe and turned it into our brown-butter pecan cookie,” Hunter says. “I developed a perspective on what the perfect cookie should taste like and decided to make an entire line of cookies. My ideal cookie was buttery, delicious, handmade and tasted like your grandma made ‘em. This was a sharp contrast from other popular chains that focused on oversized, doughy, dry cookies slathered with icing and weird stuff like gummy bears.”

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (10)

These are cookies for fans with an intense sweet tooth – and don’t expect any concessions. There are no vegan, gluten-free or low-sugar options. We’re talking real butter, flour, eggs and sugar.

The cookie: As fun as it is to sample the entire lineup, with rotating flavors arriving every month – Banana Pudding or Rocky Road, anyone? – it’s hard to go wrong with the classic chocolate chip ($3.75). It’s a substantial discus of brown-butter dough studded with gooey hunks of chocolate, crispy on the outside and soft and melty within. Get it freshly baked and pair it with milk.

Details: Open daily at 6472 Hollis St. in Emeryville, 2360C Monument Blvd. in Pleasant Hill and 1889 San Pablo Ave. in Pinole; butterpecanbakeshop.com.

Pacific Cookie Company, Santa Cruz

This Surf City landmark has been wowing chocolate chip cookie fans since 1980, when Larry and Shelly Pearson opened their cookie shop in downtown Santa Cruz.

All these years later, the company still follows the same basic recipe for success, offering up such incredible sweet treats as the Almond Joe cookie (toasted almonds, semi-sweet chocolate chips and coconut) at prices that defy inflation. A single chunky cookie, which will satisfy most people’s sweet cravings, runs just $1.50, with a Baker’s Dozen (13 cookies) going for $16.

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (11)

Plus, the place is open late, which makes it an ideal stop — perhaps for a Mom’s Special (two cookies, one milk for $3.70) — after catching a movie or a concert downtown.

The cookie: There are so many different takes on the classic, and every one is delicious. We dig the Almond Joe — a salute to the Almond Joy candy bar — and the Cahootz with its white chocolate chips, macadamia nuts and coconut. But our favorite is the classic chocolate chip with walnuts.

Details: Open 10 a.m.-10 p.m. Sunday-Thursday and until midnight Friday-Saturday at 1203 Pacific Ave. in Santa Cruz; pacificcookie.com.

Backhaus, San Mateo and Burlingame

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (12)

A first attempt to score a legendary, browned-butter chocolate chip cookie from Backhaus was stymied, sold out by 1 p.m. on a recent weekday at both mid-Peninsula locations. (This reporter consoled herself with an everything croissant bowl instead. It was beautiful, delicious and everything you’d want in a savory pastry.) The cookie’s elusiveness required a second visit – this time early on a weekend. Fortunately, the cookies were in, and let’s just say, it was worth the shlep.

The cookie: Texturally, this chocolate chip cookie ($5) has hit its golden-brown peak. It has the quintessential blend of crispy-on-the-outside, soft-on-the-inside mouthfeel that lets you know no butter was spared in the making of this oven-fresh delicacy. Mysteriously, the entire cookie had disappeared by the end of the drive home.

Details: Open from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesday-Sunday at 32 E. Third Ave. in San Mateo and 261 California Drive in Burlingame; backhausbread.com.

Busy Lizzy’s Baked Goods, Burlingame

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (13)

At some bakeries, it feels like the cookie selection is an afterthought. That’s not the case at Busy Lizzy’s Baked Goods, where cookies take center stage. The small Burlingame storefront is run by Lizzy Detert, who opened the shop in 2021 after offering her baked goods at farmers markets and pop-ups. The bakery’s slogan is “Happiness in a cookie” – and it delivers just that.

The cookie: The browned-butter chocolate chip cookies ($4.25) are ideal for cookie lovers who prefer their chocolate chip cookies on the softer side, so they melt in one’s mouth. Molasses adds caramel notes that blend with the browned butter and chocolate to add complexity and richness to each bite. The S’more cookie ($4.25) is also a contender. It adds graham crackers and marshmallows to the mix for a taste of campfire nostalgia, only tidier.

Details: Opens at 11 a.m. weekdays and 10 a.m. on weekends at 10 a.m. at 1231 Burlingame Ave. in Burlingame; busylizzysbakedgoods.com.

Did we miss your favorite bakery? Tell us about it here:

11 Bay Area bakeries with next-level chocolate chip cookies (2024)
Top Articles
Latest Posts
Article information

Author: Melvina Ondricka

Last Updated:

Views: 6023

Rating: 4.8 / 5 (48 voted)

Reviews: 95% of readers found this page helpful

Author information

Name: Melvina Ondricka

Birthday: 2000-12-23

Address: Suite 382 139 Shaniqua Locks, Paulaborough, UT 90498

Phone: +636383657021

Job: Dynamic Government Specialist

Hobby: Kite flying, Watching movies, Knitting, Model building, Reading, Wood carving, Paintball

Introduction: My name is Melvina Ondricka, I am a helpful, fancy, friendly, innocent, outstanding, courageous, thoughtful person who loves writing and wants to share my knowledge and understanding with you.